It was quiet. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember what day it was, or anything else that happened that day. I don’t remember what book I was reading or what kind of tea I was sipping on. But I remember it was quiet.
A quiet moment in a loud chapter.
My mind was quiet. The world was quiet. And this seemed rare, foreign for some reason.
I’ve had plenty of quiet in my life. To tell you the truth, most of my 25-years have been quiet. Most of my life has been relatively uneventful. You just don’t recognize quiet until you trudge through a tunnel of loud, a season of screaming.
That’s where I was. That’s where I am. I’m in the middle of a tunnel full of screaming, a tunnel that echoes every single noise with force and pounding.
But in this moment, it was like I popped my head out of the tunnel just for a few seconds. I popped up for air, and it was blissful, quiet.
I peaked over the top of my book, and I saw him, this man I love dearly sitting on the other end of our sofa and wearing these big, gaudy, x-box commander headphones. His focus was on the television in front of him, on his virtual hockey team with his friends- Team Pink.
His fingers moved rapidly on the controller in his grasp- passing, skating, shooting. And then came his laugh, that familiar “start louder at the beginning then get just a bit quieter” laugh. It was one big Ha followed by a couple smaller, breathy haha’s. It’s my absolute favorite sound in the world.
I inhaled deeply, and for a second I was gently lifted out of life’s screaming tunnel, for just a second, the air I was breathing felt a little lighter. I clutched this brief moment of peace, of rest in my anxious soul. Then I grabbed my phone, like the good millennial that I am, and I captured it.
Nothing about it was impressive. Nothing was “insta-worthy.” It was just an awkward angle and an iPhone camera. But it made me smile. It paused this moment in a way that calmed my ever persistent anxiety just a bit, so I pulled up the pen tool, and with my pointer finger, I scribbled the words, “keep this.”
The words came without thought. I looked at the picture, and I contemplated- why these words? Why the reminder to keep this picture, this perfectly average photo?
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I wanted was to keep way more than just the picture. I wanted to keep this moment. I wanted to keep this little reminder that some times, some moments in this 100-mile-an-hour life, are a little calmer. I wanted to remember that sometimes I feel like this, sometimes I can breathe. Even in the midst of the most suffocating of chapters.
I have done this multiple times since then, captured these quiet moments, scribbled the quick reminder. I even created a separate album on my phone to house them all in a single place, all of these sweet moments.
I never knew what I’d do with them, and I never had a clear plan or reason to do it in the first place, however, in recent days, when life gets especially out of my control, and the hours fly by at an excruciating pace, I’ve returned to this album, to these quiet moments. I’ve realize that these pictures, these moments, are what push me through each second, these are what keep me going.
I have hundreds of photos from my wedding, from graduation, from big moments where my makeup was pristine, my hair was curled, and everything in the world around me was completely picture-worthy, but never once, in the midst of a battle have I had any desire to return to these big days, these big picture-worthy moments.
When life is rowdy, I find that what I long for is the quiet, the moments of peace, the moments that I’ve only begun to capture.
It makes me wonder if I’ve spent 25 years reaching for and capturing the wrong moments, the wrong pictures.
I feel like everyone is always yelling at us to “put our phones away,” and “be in the moment,” and I agree with this advice, but I also want to encourage you to take it back out, just for a second, not in the big moments, but in the smaller ones.
So beautiful girl, I guess that’s my advice to you. Take your phone out, just for a second, when you feel a sense of overwhelming peace. Capture the slow mornings or the quiet evenings. Capture the sunniest days or the coziest nights. Capture the moments when your heart is at peace, even if they seem insignificant.
Capture the quiet moments in the loudest seasons, because when your world is in chaos, when the only news you ever seem to receive is bad, you don’t forget that the big moments have happened, that big things are possible. What you seem to forget is how possible it is to just feel okay. You forget that even today, you can find some way to return to peace, to the overwhelming feeling of being quietly alive for a second or two.
In these moments, what you need is reassurance that peace still exists, that quiet is real and achievable, and that you have actually known it well.
You need proof that you have felt rest before, and you will rest again.
Capture the small and quiet moments. Keep them. Hold them. Remember them.
Keep them so that in your most restless hours you can remember that you’ve been okay before, your soul has found peace even in the hardest seasons, and it will again.